Sunday, September 12, 2010

GLASA Twilight 5K

Saturday, September 11, 2010 was the ninth anniversary of the terrorists attack on America. So many men, women, and children lost their lives on that Tuesday, September 11, 2001 day. So many individuals lost a loved one if not more. So many people display such heroism as they gave of themselves to help or save others. On this anniversary, the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association held its annual Twilight 5K benefiting the wonderful programs of GLASA. These include planning and executing competitive and non competitive sporting events for youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities. My first time running in this event was in 2009. As part of the Team GLASA Marathon Team for 2010, I was able to race in this event once more. This year, I was guided by Brett Petersen, a Ironman triathlete and triathlon coach. In 2009, one of my sisters ran in the event. She returned again this year and brought some family members along as my eldest sister decided to tackle her first ever 5K race as did my fifteen year old nephew.

There was a bit of a breeze as I arrived an hour before the race which began at 6p.m. I signed in, received my goodie bag, and met Brett. I am usually nervous before a race wanting to perform well, but knowing I am not in the best shape. This time, I was anxious because I knew my conditioning was the best it has been in four years so I was confident I would have a good race, but the expectations of a solid performance made me a bit scared. What if my finishing time was about the same as always? What if I did worse than normal? This was Brett's first time guiding so I figured he would require some time to adjust to having to communicate any needed information to me. I also knew it would take me a while to relax and trust him during the race. The beauty of this race is that the field is capped at 500 runners so once we would get through the initial congestion at the start of the race, we would have a fast wide open course on the streets of Lake Forest, Il.

The gun sounded and we were off and running. Sure enough, we had to make our way through some early obstacles of people, but we were able to get out fast. At one point still very early in the first mile, Brett informed me that we were moving at an 8:12 pace. Considering that we were having to move in, out, and around some early traffic, we were making great time. In fact, we were probably moving at an under eight minute per mile pace. As we neared the end of the first mile we settled into a slower pace closer to 8:40. There was one aid station during this race at the 1.5 mile mark. We moved quickly towards the tables, grabbed our liquids, hydrated during a quick break, then began to move again. We crossed two miles and we were flying towards the finish line. My pace seemed to be getting slower as the early fast start seemed to be catching up to me, but Brett continued to encourage me insisting we were nearing the end. He motivated me to push myself and when I would feel strong enough, I would. Brett said we were a half mile from the finish and I struggled to push. I was moving much faster than I have ever moved in a 5K race, but I wanted to press on the gas and go. I found myself fading, but Brett kept encouraging me. Before long, we had reached the final shoot and we sprinted for home.. I gave it one last kick before the finish, but it did not feel like my typical final kick. It was a kick none the less which helped me cross the finish four minutes faster than any other 5K.

My sister who has raced many 5K events previously crossed the finish in her typical quick fashion. My fifteen year old nephew crossed in about twenty-five minutes. While my eldest sister proudly crossed the finish line in her first ever 5K! Because she and my nephew had never raced in a 5K before this one, I was happiest for them. All in all, it was a wonderful time for all who raced and raised money for a wonderful organization, the Great lakes Adaptive Sports Association.

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